Student Team Earns Top 10 Finish at Sports Medicine Conference

Student Spotlight

Get your buzzer ready for a Jeopardy question about the University of Pittsburgh School of Education.

These students finished in the top 10 of the Mid-Atlantic American College of Sports Medicine Conference (MARC-ASCM) College Knowledge Bowl. 

If you answered, “Who are Pitt Education Health and Physical Activity Students,” then you are correct.

This November, nine students from the school traveled to Harrisburg, Pa. to participate in the MARC-ASCM professional development and academic conference. They received $3,000 in funding from the school to offset their travel costs.

Students Madeline Kuciapinski, George Ruddy, and Lea Hart participated in the College Knowledge Bowl, a Jeopardy-style game that quizzed them on exercise science and health concepts in biomechanics, strength and conditioning, nutrition, exercise physiology, and sports medicine.

The versatility and depth of Pitt Education’s academic programs prepared them for their top 10 win in the College Knowledge Bowl, as well as the concepts presented at the conference.

“Listening to the conference presenters discuss early specialization in sports and how to avoid the mistake of promoting it further complemented my learning in the classroom about how kids are being affected by early specialization,” said Kuciapinksi. She is majoring in Exercise Science and plans to attend graduate school to study biomechanics, and pursue a career in training athletes to help them to become the best overall athletes that they can be.

The exercise science curriculum at Pitt Education provides an evidence-based education blended with applied experience.

“Our program is uniquely positioned because of the extensive cutting-edge research and programming to which our students are exposed to through a variety of both classroom and out-of-classroom experiences,” said John Jakicic, who is the chair of the Health and Physical Activity department, the director of the Healthy Lifestyle Institute, and a Distinguished Professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

The College Knowledge Bowl gave students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and experiences from their time in the program. 

“The knowledge bowl was really fun because it allowed me to work with two of my fellow students to try to remember what we have learned in the classroom and apply it quickly,” said Lea Hart, another Pitt Education exercise science student that participated in the game. 

Hart plans to become a physical therapist and believes that the conference and experience of participating in the knowledge bowl has helped her to understand scientific research first-hand from the researchers themselves.

Kuciapinski attributed her team’s top 10 victory in the knowledge bowl to her membership in the school’s Exercise Science student organization and to participating in volunteer and career development events.

“I love our volunteer opportunity at the Sarah Heinz House where we interact with kids and teach them about exercise. It is the most rewarding experience,” said Kuciapinski.

The experience at the Sarah Heinz House aligns with Pitt Education’s mission-vision, which is to ignite learning and to work for equity and justice in education.

Here is one final Jeopardyquestion for you to answer.

This school is very proud of their students for their top 10 performance in the MARC-ACSM College Knowledge Bowl as a reflection of the culmination of their experiences in and out of the classroom. 

The answer: What is Pitt Education?